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A JPL Christmas

'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the
annual yuletide celebration, and throughout our domicile, kinetic
activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this
potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as mus
musculus. Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge
of the wood-burning warming apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory
pleasure regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric
philanthropist who goes by many honorific folkloric appellations.

The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their
respective accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious
visual hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving
rhythmically through their cerebra. My conjugal partner and I,
attired in our nocturnal cranial coverings, were about to take
slumberous advantage of the hibernal darkness when upon the
avenaceous exterior portion of the grounds there ascended such a
cacophony of dissonance that I felt compelled to arise with
alacrity from my own place of repose for the purpose of
ascertaining the precise source thereof.

Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing
the fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance
without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline
climactic precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar
meridian itself, thus permitting my incredulous optical sensor to
peruse a minuscule airborne runnered conveyance drawn by an octet
of diminutive specimens of the genus rangifer, piloted by an aged
chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly apparent
to me that he was indeed our anticipated visitor. With his undulate
motive power traveling at what might possibly have been more
vertiginous velocity than patriotic, alar predators, he vociferated
loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and
addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen,
guiding them to the uppermost exterior level of our abode, through
which structure I could readily distinguish the concatenations of
each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities.

As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was
performing a 180 degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved
ù with utmost celerity and via a downward leap ù entry to the
aforementioned domicile by way of the smoke channel. He was clad
entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebon residue from the
oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the
walls of such channels. His resemblance to a street vendor I
attributed largely to the plethora of assorted playthings which he
bore dorsally in a commodious cloth receptacle.

His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his
submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging
amiability. The capillaries of his molar regions and nasal
aptenance were engorged with blood which suffused the subcutaneous
layers, the former approximating the coloration of Albion's floral
emblem, the latter that of the prunus avium. His amusing sub- and
supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot, and
their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small, tabular
and columnar crystals of frozen dihydrogen oxide.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smokingpiece, whose gray
fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive
of a decorative seasonal circlet of ilex leaves. His visage was
wider than it was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his
corpulent abdominal region undulated in the manner of impectinated
fruit syrup in a hemispherical container.

Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the
aforementioned hosiery with articles of merchandise extracted from
his aforementioned previously dorsally transported cloth
receptacle. Upon completion of this task, he executed an abrupt
about-face, placed a single manual digit in lateral juxtaposition
to his olfactory organ, inclined his cranium forward in a gesture
of leave-taking, and forthwith affected his egress by renegotiating
the smoke channel. He then propelled himself in a short vector onto
his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his
contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of burden, and
proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable chiefly
among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed. But I overheared
his parting exclamation, audible immediately prior to his
vehiculation beyond the limits of visibility: "Ecstatic yuletides
to the planetary constituance, and to that self-same assemblage my
sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly
pleasurable period between sunset and dawn!"

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